Students Staff

21 September 2012

UN Special Rapporteur joins the University

Colchester Campus

The UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights situation in Iran, Dr Ahmed Shaheed, is to spend the next academic year as a visiting Professor of human rights practice at the University of Essex.

Dr Shaheed is an internationally recognised expert on human rights, foreign policy and democratic reform, particularly in Muslim States. He has twice held the Office of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Maldives and he played a central role in the democratic transition of the Maldives and its human rights reform process.

He was appointed as UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights situation in Iran by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2011. In this role, he is independent from any government or organisation and serves in his individual capacity.

Dr Shaheed’s position at the University is supported through a grant by the Sigrid Rausing Trust, an organisation founded in 1995 to support the international human rights movement.

Professor Rainer Schulze who is the Director of the University of Essex’s Human Rights Centre which will host Dr Shaheed commented: “Dr Shaheed’s extensive knowledge of the global human rights situation will be of enormous benefit to our students and we plan to arrange a series of lectures to share his expertise further.”

Dr Shaheed said:”I am delighted to join the Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex. The University has a well-earned reputation globally as a centre of excellence, not only for human rights teaching and research but also in practice. I look forward to working with and benefitting from the eminent academic community at the Centre.”

In 2009 the Centre for the Study of Islam and Democracy in Washington presented Dr Shaheed with the Muslim Democrat of the Year Award and in 2010 the President of Albania awarded him the Medal of Gratitude for his contribution to peace and human rights in the Balkans.

Mr Scott Sheeran, a Senior Lecturer of the University’s School of Law and member of the Human Rights Centre, currently leads the Human Rights in Iran Unit at the University of Essex. He noted that: “Dr Shaheed is known for the objectivity and rigour of his work as Special Rapporteur and we look forward to benefitting from his human rights expertise.”

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